How to Opt Out of Facebook Places

Facebook Places, launched last week has set out to bring friends together while out on the town. Accessed via the new most recent version of the Facebook iphone app or touch.facebook.com (available if your mobile browser supports HTML 5 and geolocation), users are able to check-in and notify friends of where they are and also see if some are nearby. Connecting friends it is what Facebook does and bringing them together away from the laptop is an expansion of the connecting. I suppose it eliminates the need for a text or a phone call and increases your popularity by and good will by supporting your local establishments. I doubt we will see  FB check-ins from Target or a local church but the urge to resist the check-in from the hottest Friday Happy Hour bar seat may be too great to ignore.

Checking-In with Facebook Places

If you are like me, the announcement of Facebook Places was no big surprise. However, finding the time to spend some time with it, was a different story. Before I was singing the praise or running to opt out, I wanted to take a look around and see what all the hype was about. I also was curious as to the default settings as when instant personalization was launched, you were opted in and it was only when you opted out instant personalization that your information would not be shared.

Checking-in via the app or touch.facebook.com is quite simple as you click on Check-In and list of places near you appears. Choose the place that matches where you are and check-in. If the location is not on the list, add it. Once you check in, your friends’ News feed is updated as well the page for the business/location that you just checked into in the Recent Activity. This is seeming very similar to Facebook’s Like and Link as once you check-in, you are linked to that page.

As you are generally are not alone when heading out for a night on the town so, Facebook has expanded tagging to Places in the same way that photos are tagged. And for the curious types looking to see who else has checked in to where you are,  the “People Here Now” provides this information (for those that have it enabled).

people here now feature on facebook app

How to Opt Out of Facebook Places

Facebook Places is not for everyone. For those, that have set their Facebook page as private as it can be or are old school and still call or text, opting out is a few short steps.

1. On your page, click on the Account tab, Privacy Settings and then down at the bottom, Customize Settings.

facebook custom privacy settings

2. The Things I Share/Things Others Share and Contact Information appears.

a. First, change Places I Check Into to “Only Me” by clicking the drop down, selecting Custom and then Only me.

b. Second, disable Include me in “People Here Now” after I check in by clicking the “Enable” box so that a check mark does not appear.

facebook places I check in to

3. Scroll down to Things Others Share and “Disable” from the drop down menu, Friends can check me in to Places.

disable friends can check me into places on Facebook

4. Return to the Privacy page by clicking “Back to Privacy” tab at the top left. Click on Edit your settings under Applications and Web Sites.  Then, click Edit settings to the right of “Info accessible through your friends.”  At the bottom right, remove the check mark from “Places I check in to.”facebook places I check into

The ability to check into locations is not new as Foursquare and Gowalla are widely used. The challenge for Facebook is to have those users to also check in on Facebook. Once people start to see others checking in, they will follow suit while others who are not Foursquare or Gowalla users will take the lead and check in on Facebook with tagging their friends of course.

Have you had a chance to explore Facebook Places? Have you disabled or will you be using this to check-in?

  • I've read about Facebook Places but haven't had a chance to check it out yet. For some reason it doesn't have the option on my iPhone, I may need to check that I have the latest Facebook app as you suggested. I just started getting into Foursquare a couple of months ago and wonder if once I start using Places if it will eliminate the need for Foursquare, I guess only time will tell.

    Thanks for the instructions for opting-out as they are good to have as a reference. I also used your instant personalization instructions some time ago which I found useful as the default settings were a bit too public for my liking.

  • John

    This was so similar to the instant personalization that it really caught my eye. I am not so much against the location part check-in a I am about the publishing. I check in at x place, I am linked and public. That is really what I am concerned with. Now Foursquare or Gowalla are different as they to me are more business where FB is personal. At least that is the way that I see them. My foursquare profile is 1/10th of my facebook page.

    Please keep me posted on your thoughts about Places.

  • Hi Suzanne – Great point concerning the distinction between Facebook, Foursquare and Gowalla. I also view Facebook as more personal and typically limit my connections there when compared to other social networking sites. I may check out Places just to make a comparison to the other sites, but there is something unnerving about the possibility of accidentally publishing locations. With Foursquare I am only there to publish a location to participate in the game and therefore know exactly what I am doing. Facebook on the other hand is multi-purposed so there seems a greater risk of accidentally publishing locations. Plus we are all aware of the previous privacy issues with Facebook that seem to surface from time-to-time 🙂

  • Mousiehauskat

    I'm so disgusted by getting spammed. Don't know if it's because of FB or not, but to make sure, I was told to delete all apps on FB. Do this by going to “Account,” selecting “Account Settings,” and go to “Applications.” It will show every app you've activated on FB. Delete them all. Otherwise, you, your connections, and possibly their connections, will have their info sold by FB. Yes, that's right. They SELL your confidential information. Boo.

  • I guess I will have to wait for FB places to be on another app other than the Iphone. Great post for people that want to op-out.

  • Raul

    Actually the opting out is all via your personal profile. I did it all from there as I was learning and then that promoted this article. I always am the try/do then write type of person.

    Let me know if you have any problems with opting out on your profile as I can lend a hand.

  • John

    Thank you for agreeing that FB is more personal. My friends there are people I went to HS with, my family, my friends, etc. It is just different and to give a location there seems almost like why when you can call them? I also do not like that when you add a location or the proper lingo, check in, you are linked to them. When we check in on other platforms, we are exposing a business profile and not a personal one.

    Privacy has been an issue on FB and I see it as a way around it. Check in and link. I get that people would still have to friend you to see all your updates and entire profile but you are still exposing that you are on FB and at a location. Not so much worried about stalking or robbery like some have written about as I doubt someone wanting to rob me would be checking on FB to see if I was home but maybe it is personally letting people know where I am and what I am doing at all times is unnerving.

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